Magach 6B in the Yad La-Shiryon Armored Corps Memorial and Museum, Latrun.

Magach (מגח; Ma-GAKH) designation refers to a series of tanks in Israeli service. The tanks are based on the American M48 and M60 Patton tanks. Magach 1, 2, 3 and 5 are based on M48 tanks; Magach 6 and 7 are based on M60 tanks.

Service history

The tanks were sold to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by West Germany (and later by the United States) during the 1960s and 1970s. Several dozen Jordanian M48 tanks, captured intact during the 1967 Six Day War, were also commissioned, adding to the 150 already in service at that time. During the war, the Israeli tanks served in their original (American) configuration.

Following the 1967 war, several modifications were made to improve the tank to M48A3 level, resulting in the Magach 3. These modifications included replacing the original 90 mm gun with the British 105 mm L7, lowering the command turret's profile, upgrading the communication suite, and replacing the weak gasoline engine, that was susceptible to fire, with a 750 hp diesel one.

When the Yom Kippur War broke out, Israel had 540 M48A3 (with 105mm gun) and M60A1 tanks.[1][2] During the war, the tanks suffered heavy losses. The location of flammable hydraulic fluid at the front of the turret was discovered to be a severe vulnerability. After the war, Israel had only about 200 M48A3 and M60A1 tanks, after a large number of Israeli tanks were destroyed or terminally hit during the war, mostly in the Sinai front against entrenched Egyptian infantry armed with AT-3 Sagger anti tank missiles.[1] War losses were replaced with new M48A5 (Magach 5) and M60 (Magach 6) during the 1970s.

Prior to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon (1982 Lebanon War), Magach 6 tanks were fitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA). Further work has been done on the upgraded Magach 6 models, including new armor, Merkava-based tracks, new fire controls, a thermal sleeve for the gun and smoke dischargers, eventually resulting in the Magach 7 model, which is still in use with the IDF.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, the Magachs have been gradually replaced by Merkava tanks as Israel's front-line main battle tank. However, a large majority of the IDF's armored corps continued to consist of Magach variants until the 1990s, and the tank was continuously upgraded during this time.

By 2006, all Magachs in regular units had been replaced by Merkavas.

In July 2015, Israel officially unveiled the existence of the Pereh missile carrier. The Pereh is a guided missile carrier disguised as a tank.[3] A Magach is converted into a Pereh tank destroyer by replacing the main battle gun with an anti-tank guided missile launch station. The original turret is enlarged to install a launcher under armor for 12 "Tamuz" Spike NLOS missiles, which can destroy targets out to 25 km (16 mi). Disguised as a standard tank, the Pereh is fitted with a fake cannon barrel to the front, but can be identified easily by the curved antenna mounted at the rear on the roof of the turret, which is erected in firing position; additional features include add-on frontal armor and stowage boxes on the turret sides. Pictures of the Pereh were first released during Operation Protective Edge in July 2014.[4]

Source of the name "Magach"

Contrary to a popular belief, "Magach" is not an abbreviation but a Hebrew word meaning "ramming hit".[5] However, as the word is very rarely used and is not known to many Hebrew speakers, several popular explanations of the name exist:


Magach 7C in Yad la-Shiryon museum, Latrun.

Magach should not be confused with the Sabra series of upgrade packages for the M60A1/A3, which were developed for export to Turkey. Sabra includes upgrades similar to those of the Magach 7, but an essential difference is that it is armed with the MG251 120 mm smooth-bore gun (the same as used by the Merkava 3).[6]


See also




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